8 November 2013

The Battle for Hearts and Minds

November 7, 2013

Geopolitics connotes hard power, concerned as it is with the struggle over control of geographical space, a struggle that is primarily military and economic. Unsentimentality is the order of the day. Geopolitics and realism go hand in hand, therefore. Humanitarian aid would seem to have no place in this worldview. But that, as it turns out, is far too simplistic.

For power is also the power to persuade, and persuasion can take the form of winning friends, one village at a time. A policy that is purely military and economic has no idealistic component, and in an age of global media an idealistic component is required for credibility in the public space. In fact, foreign aid, as it came to be known during the Cold War, was a critical part of America's struggle against world communism. Building schools and roads, and teaching children how to read and farmers how to take advantage of the latest agricultural methods, was not merely altruistic; for it had the ulterior motive of demonstrating the superiority of America's values over those of its adversaries. When in 1961 President John F. Kennedy launched the Peace Corps, though his words were suffused with idealism, realpolitik was not far from his thoughts.

But the meaning of foreign aid has subtly shifted in the post-Cold War years. According to a commonly received narrative prevalent in the media, because communism has been vanquished, foreign policy is finally able to pursue idealistic ends untainted by realpolitik. Henceforth, foreign aid should be purely humanitarian, with minimal concern for whether or not it benefits U.S. national interest.

Ironically, this very altruism that abjures national interest has made America's foreign assistance programs not better but worse. Foreign aid is like any other organized pursuit: It requires a competitive mindset to excel. Aid workers must be aware of the ideological, philosophical and political opposition they will likely encounter in the field and prepare strategies to defeat it. They must learn to compete, in other words. That is the argument made by Nadia Schadlow, a program officer at the Smith Richardson Foundation, in an article in the journal Orbis. (Disclosure: I have received grants over the years from Smith Richardson.)

Schadlow explains that because the military thinks competitively and the foreign assistance bureaucracy does not, the military is far more effective than the State Department, with the result being the militarization of foreign policy. Counterintuitively, the way to reduce America's reliance on hard power is to get the foreign aid bureaucracy to adopt a harder, more competitive approach to its own soft power. If the aid community thought competitively, like the military and the intelligence communities do, it would be more effective in the field, and the militarization of foreign policy would consequently diminish. "The imbalance between military and non-military instruments of power is likely to continue unless civilian agencies develop approaches which account for the contested landscapes in which they function," Schadlow explains. She quotes an Australian government aid expert: "Aid is 10 percent technical and 90 percent political."

The World's Billionaires Have Doubled Their Wealth Since 2009. Just In Case You Didn't Hate Them Already.

November 6, 2013

Recession be damned: There are more billionaires today than there were during the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009 -- and they're twice as rich, says a new report released Wednesday.

The Billionaire Census, jointly compiled by Swiss financial company UBS and Singapore-based firm Wealth-X, is a comprehensive survey of the world's ultrarich -- essentially a thumbnail view of their interests, assets and social networks. The report's findings are equal parts predictable (billionaires love yachts!) and intriguing (women are richer). As of 2013, there are 2,170 billionaires enjoying a collective fortune of $6.5 trillion. Over the past five years, they've increased in number by 60 percent, their combined wealth has doubled and they're more liquid than ever. 

Just over the past year, billionaire wealth has increased in every region of the world, as depicted by the map below, with the biggest gains in Asia. Europe was the only region to lose billionaires (29, to be exact), but it still boasts among the richest in the world. What's more: The global population is still growing -- expected to reach 3.900 by the year 2020.

Billionaires, it seems, are taking over our world (what little of it they don't already own, anyway).With that in mind, here are some of the report's highlights, framed as your most pressing questions about the richest people on Earth.

Who are these people?

The average billionaire is a 67-year-old man worth about $3 billion -- 18 percent of which is liquid (the recent financial crisis taught him a thing or two about carrying cash). He went to Harvard, or maybe to Penn State. His passions include art, aviation, real estate, traveling, and golf -- in that order. He's married, with two children and -- though he owns four $20 million homes -- he tends to spend most of his time in the city where his business is headquartered (probably New York).

On the Road to Pushkar


Every fall, a small band of nomadic Indian traders descend on Rajasthan's great camel bazaar to sell their herd and buy new stock.

In November 2012, Hukuma Ram made the trek to the Pushkar with a group from his village, their many camels in tow. It took them nine days of walking through countryside and roads to reach their destination. It was not an easy journey; they often struggled without enough water or food and there were days when they did not eat at all. But they could not miss the holy pilgrimage to Pushkar Mela, the great camel fair.

Ram is Rabari, a nomadic people whose culture centers around their relationship to the camel. Each year, for five days around early November, camel traders bring some 20,000 camels from their villages to Puskar, a town in Rajasthan, India, for the Pushkar Mela where they buy and sell their camels, participate in religious ritual and celebration. This year's Pushkar Mela, which begins on Nov. 9 and lasts through Nov. 17, will see crowds of upwards of 200,000 people. 

Above, Ram stands beside his camel, Ropal. Ram first started working with camels when he was 15 years old, learning the trade from his father and grandfather. Ram has 15 camels of his own; he uses the females primarily for milk and the males for transport and plowing his patch of land where he grows vegetables. "It's a hard, tiring life caring for our camels," he said, "but I love them."

Last fall was Ram's 20th consecutive year coming to Pushkar Mela. He went to both buy and sell. He remembered the first time he came to Pushkar when there were only as many as 12,000 camels and there was plenty of grass for camels to eat. In recent years, he's noticed that the grazing land is disappearing and traders now have to purchase food for their camels. Ram worried that Mela has become too commercial, that it has lost its sense of close-knit community.

Still, he said, "If camels are happy, we are happy."

Brent Lewin/Redux 

The Rabari story of creation goes something like this: One day, the goddess Parvati created an animal out of clay that looked something like a cow. She brought the clay figure to her husband, Shiva, the Hindu god, and asked him to give life to the animal. He looked over the clay cow-like creation; it's odd, he told her, that the animal should have five legs. So Shiva took the fifth leg and pushed it up through the body, creating a bump on the animal's back.

And thus the camel came into being. But then Parvati worried: who would look after the newly animated creature? So Shiva rubbed his chest and shaped the dried skin into a small puppet. Then, by taking some milk from the banyan tree, he gave the puppet life. And so, the first Rabari was born, brought into being so he could be caretaker to the camel.

Brent Lewin/Redux 

Camels can live to be 50 years old. The Rabari give their camels names, like Vishnu, Ropal, and Haryan. It can take over a month of working with a young camel until it is fully trained -- learning commands like "sit down," "stand up," and "stay still" through positive reinforcement. As one camel trader said, "They're not an intelligent animal but they are good natured, calm, and very well disciplined."

India needs a progressive strategic culture

Dinesh Kumar

As India continues to modernise its armed forces, it needs to build its own capabilities in cutting edge military technologies since it remains heavily import dependent. It needs to give attention to shaping its strategic thinking.

Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

FOR over a decade now, India has been engaged in a major defence modernisation programme. India has inducted new capabilities that have considerably enhanced the military’s reach, endurance and firepower. For example, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has acquired Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), which is a powerful eye high in the sky that has given the dual capability of detecting and identifying enemy aircraft well in advance and at the same time coordinating strike missions. The IAF has inducted mid-air refuelling aircraft which has enabled fighter aircraft to travel longer distances than ever before. In a few years from now, the Navy hopes to take possession of the first ever indigenously built nuclear powered submarine (INS Arihant), a formidable stealth weapon system that can remain undetected underwater for weeks on end and strike the enemy with conventional or nuclear missiles. In less than ten days, India will be taking delivery of a 44,500 tonne aircraft carrier from Russia (Admiral Gorshkov rechristened INS Vikramaditya) which will be equipped with the newly inducted naval variant of the MiG-29 fighter, also imported from Russia.

India has signed contracts for purchase of advance conventional submarines (Scorpene) from France; is in the process of negotiating purchase of multi-role combat aircraft (Rafale) also from France; has inducted both maritime reconnaissance-cum-strike aircraft (P-8I) and heavy lift transport aircraft (C-17 and C 130J Hercules) from the US; Unmanned Aerial Aircraft or UAVs in addition to numerous surveillance equipment, sensors and electronic warfare systems from Israel; more long range Sukhoi-30 MKI multi-role aircraft from Russia, T-90 main battle tanks, an Akula class nuclear powered submarine on lease, joint production of land, air and sea version of the BrahMos cruise missile along with an agreement to jointly produce a fifth generation strike aircraft among other defence ventures with that country.

The above is a listing of just a few deals and agreements. For, the list of weapons and weapon systems either inducted or still in the pipeline is long and enormous and is valued at between a staggering $50 billion and $100 billion. For some years now, India has been figuring among the world’s topmost arms importers, a trend that is likely to continue for some years yet considering that India’s military modernisation has been sorely lagging owing to a range of reasons starting with the resource crunch and disintegration of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s which was both preceded by and followed by procedural irregularities and allegations of bribes related to defence procurement.

Missing wood for trees

Focus on the larger picture in Kashmir
by Lt Gen (retd) Syed Ata Hasnain
Source Link

THE Indian public and the media have taken an unusually intense interest in the incidents along the LoC in Kashmir. Much of this interest seems to arise from emotions and salability rather than informed knowledge of the ground situation. There is a certain romantic aura linked to the LoC - the known unknown about which everyone likes to comment. After all, on the LoC there is blood and gore, shelling and shooting and everything macho, something missing in everyday mundane life in our cities except on roads and in films. Media commentaries rarely analyse the linkage of these incidents with the internal dynamics of Kashmir. The Indian Army tries to be neutral by refusing to comment or join issue with the media and is reluctant to be transparent on its actions at the LoC or within Kashmir, and there are reasons for it which can be well appreciated.

Let us recall the facts. Kashmir's strategic environment arises from proxy support to terrorism by Pakistan's inter-related entities -- the Pakistan Army, separatists, the ISI (as distinct from the Army) and terrorists. The aims of India and of Pakistan collide at the LoC. For Pakistan the aim is to wrest Kashmir from India through the continuation of turbulence in any form, keeping the people enthused and motivated for separatism, not necessarily pro-Pakistan, as also for drawing the attention of the international community.

For India it is thus far an unstated aim: integrating Kashmir with the rest of India, politically, socially, economically and psychologically. To ensure the achievement of our aim and the defeat of Pakistan's aim, there are four distinct areas of concern. First, it is the LoC, which must remain stable without leaking any infiltration so that terrorist numbers in the hinterland remain within a given threshold. Secondly, the resident terrorists have to be marginalised to allow the writ of the state and the people to run. Thirdly, the ideologues and the radicals have to be neutralised to prevent them from spreading their wares and creating triggers to keep separatism alive while placing the security forces on the back foot. Lastly, and most importantly, it is the people of Kashmir who need to be empowered with enhanced dignity to start taking pride in being Indians.

Noticeably, only the first of the above factors alludes to the LoC which has excited the Indian public and the media so much. The rest is all about the internal battle, not necessarily in the physical domain but more in the attitudinal and psychological. It is this which will contribute to the final victory but it is all in the realm of the unromantic where battles of the hearts and the minds have to be fought. This excites very few and in fact only those who realise that the war is almost over; it is the peace which has to be won, a task always more difficult than the war itself. For Pakistan it is necessary to upset the apple cart of Indian success if Kashmir has to be relevant in the international domain.

It would be a commentary on their maturity if the Indian media and the public are more excited by the prospects of the final victory, debate the efforts which need to be put in, assist in building public opinion to back the security forces and political initiatives and counter Pakistan's well-nuanced propaganda. The Army is well in control of the LoC, notwithstanding some negative incidents which it knows how to convert to the positive. It needs no nitpicking and no non-professional advice being the only entity which truly knows what the LoC is all about.

CHINA: Can Coming Political Conclave Resolve Internal Contradictions?

Paper No. 5594 Dated 07-Nov-2013
By Bhaskar Roy

The third plenary session of the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is to be held from November 09 to 12. One will have to read the report of CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping and come to some conclusion.

Gradually, the CCP will edit and make available some more information through party and state controlled media. Finally, there will be some crucial issues discussed and personalities involved that will not come out anytime soon.

Notwithstanding this, the people of China and the world are eagerly awaiting the policies that emanate from this conclave. Whatever happens in China today affects the world. Therefore, it shoulders a heavy responsibility. The third plenum has also become a watershed meeting. The architect of China’s modernization, Deng Xiaojping, unveiled his “reform and opening up” at the third plenum of the 11th Central Committee in 1978. Since then, the two “third plenums” consolidated this policy and rolled it to the world. History was made.

Xi Jinping took over as the party chief last November in the midst of a major scandal involving the Chongqing municipality party chief Bo Xilai and his wife. His wife was found guilty of murdering a British business partner and sentenced with suspended death sentence.

Bo Xilai was finally sentenced to life imprisonment recently on charges of corruption. This, however, was not a simple case of corruption. Otherwise, Bo Xilai, a powerful princeling and son of Bo Yibo, one of the popularly known “seven immortals of China” which included Deng Xiaoping and Chen Yun, could not have been brought down. He was already a member of the party’s politburo and was expected to rise to the core Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC).

Bo Xilai had scant respect for the political acumen of his seniors and colleagues. He brought back Cultural Revolution style of culture in Chongqing, moved in the Maoist direction, and reportedly was planning a coup. His more than normal contacts with some senior military officials were also viewed with suspicion. He was also tapping telephone conversations of senior leaders visiting Chongqing.

The Bo Xilai issue is not over yet. Xi will have to deal with the leftism that has been spreading. A decision would have to be taken if Bo’s mentor, Zhou Yanqkang, PBSC member who retired at the 18th Party Congress should be prosecuted or not, and the effect it would have. It was an unwritten law that PBSC members would remain beyond the reach of law. Till date only up to politburo members have been punished, that too rarely. Although the main reasons have been political, on paper they have been shown as corruption. This issue is expected to remain in discussion in the party central committee and above.

The third plenum is expected to establish economic reforms more firmly, though there is a call from some sections that without political reforms real economic reforms will be near impossible, and anti-reformists will drag the country to the Cultural Revolution era. The main votary for this line was Premier Wen Jiabao who retired in March. There would be other supporters like Guangdong Party Chief Wang Yang, who could not make it to the PBSC this time.

China cashing on India’s Sri Lanka woes

Paper No. 5595 Dated 07-Nov-2013
by Col. R.Hariharan (retd.)

Even as the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was finding it hard to make up his mind over attending the CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting) to be held in Colombo in two weeks from now, China is making the best use of the situation to strengthen its presence in Sri Lanka.

China’s intention is obvious: profit from India’s discomfiture in Sri Lanka to occupy India’s strategic space in the island nation.

On October 24 when the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms Jayalalithaa was moving a resolution asking the Centre to ‘totally boycott’ the CHOGM “in deference to the overwhelming feeling and sentiments of Tamils,” Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa was praising China's generosity, while opening of the renovated venue for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Convention Hall (BMICH). When President Rajapaksa wanted to renovate the BMICH, China chipped in to meet the cost of about $15.3 million (Sri Lankan Rs 2 billion). In fact China had donated the BMICH, Colombo’s prestigious conference centre nearly a decade ago. It now stands as a visible reminder of China’s “enduring generosity” to Sri Lanka.

Even as Ms Jayalalithaa castigated the Centre for failing to act upon another “historic resolution” passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly on July 8, 2011 which sought an economic embargo on Sri Lanka until Tamils were fully resettled and rehabilitated, Sri Lanka was negotiating with China to finalise a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The government-owned Sunday Observer described the China-Sri Lanka FTA as the biggest development in Sino-Lanka cooperation since the 1952 Rubber-Rice Pact.

Two months ago, Sri Lanka’s minister for industry and commerce Rishad Bathiudeen was hopeful of finalising the FTA before the CHOGM in November 2013. However, the Deputy International Trade Representative of the Commerce Ministry of China, Yu Jianhua who visited Sri Lanka last month was more realistic. He expected “the preparatory process of the FTA to be completed by December this year.” He was keen to see the groundwork on this FTA completed by December this year.

The Chinese representative added “Sri Lanka is a priority country for the Ministry of Commerce, China (MOFCOM). The FTA will not only upgrade trade levels between Sri Lanka and China but will also enhance trade skills of both countries as well. We will work diligently in our joint efforts.” Yu said before visiting Colombo, he had looked carefully at China’s trade links with Sri Lanka on issues like tariffs, market access in China, diversifying Sri Lanka’s exports, and overall enhancement of Sri Lanka’s export potential to China.” 

In his view, the FTA was not only for trade “but something beyond, to institutionalise our strategic cooperation partnership as mandated by the leaders of both countries. We encourage Chinese firms to become involved in Sri Lanka’s economic development.”

The Chinese efforts to enhance its trading opportunities on the sidelines of CHOGM are interesting. According to Xinhua, 42 Chinese companies were among the 83 foreign companies participating in the trade exhibition “Reflections of Sri Lanka” being held on the sidelines of the CHOGM. In contrast, despite being Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner, India will be represented by only 21 companies at the exhibition. 

India's race to Mars goes way beyond science

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan
06 November 2013
India's space programme did not begin with big ambitions. Vikram Sarabhai, one of the original leaders of the Indian space programme in the early 1960s, said that India did "not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the moon or the planets or manned space-flight."

Even if we take Mr. Sarabhai at his word, India's maiden mission to Mars shows that things have changed.

Firstly, it provides an indication of a growing space race between India and China. Fielding its Mars mission before China has reached the Red Planet is clearly a big factor in Delhi's calculations. China attempted a Mars orbiter mission in 2011, piggybacking it on a Russian Mars spacecraft, but that failed to leave Earth's orbit.

Setting off to Mars is a demonstration of India's technological capabilities and an attempt to join the US, Russia and the European Union in successful interplanetary exploration before China.

The mission is not without its critics, including some former officials of Indian Space Research Organisation, India's space agency, who argue that it is a waste of money, especially in a country where so many live in poverty. It is unlikely that critics will get much of a hearing.

India claims that its missions are much cheaper than similar ones elsewhere, with this attempt costing $73 million, about a tenth as much as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration spends on comparable programmes.

The bread or gun argument is real for India, but the country doesn't live in a benign neighborhood and the security imperative also requires it to focus on those capabilities which can prepare it for the challenge presented by its location.

India's security compulsions are becoming a more compelling driver for its space program. Countries around the world have so far used space for so-called passive military applications such as communications and reconnaissance but there is a growing trend towards 'weaponising' outer space.

The U.S.'s Prompt Global Strike programme, which includes using long-range missiles and hypersonic vehicles that will transit through space, has created the impression that it plans to weaponise space. This could provoke reactions from Russia and China and set off a broader arms race in space.

China's anti-satellite test in January 2007 served as a wake-up call to India about the challenges that exist in its neighbourhood. The test sparked a new debate, both within the Indian security establishment and the larger Indian strategic community about the country's traditional policy against the militarisation of space and put pressure to develop its own anti-satellite system. While India is yet to demonstrate such capability, the scientific establishment has made it amply clear that they have the technological blocks ready should there be a political decision to do so.

South Asia: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth


Two decades back—February 1993 to be precise—James Woolsey, the incumbent Director of the CIA, identified South Asia as presenting “the most probable prospect for future use of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.” A nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan made that “probable prospect” credible, if not certain. Fast forward to 2013, and the present competition between the two South Asian adversaries to flight test and deploy missiles of steadily increasing ranges. They had revealed their nuclear explosive capabilities in May 1998. It can be surmised that they must have taken further steps to improve the weight-to-yield ratio of their nuclear warheads.

The statement issued by India after it conducted its nuclear tests in May 1998 informed inter alia that three sub-kiloton devices had been tested, indicating that India’s scientific establishment had miniaturized its nuclear warheads, which can arm tactical or battlefield nuclear weapons. India’s nuclear weapons, incidentally, use weapons grade plutonium, which are superior to enriched uranium to fashion more compact ‘cores’ for equipping ‘implosion-type’ nuclear warheads. Pakistan uses weapons grade uranium; it is trying to set up facilities now to obtain plutonium for its nuclear weapons. Some doubts must, therefore, attend Pakistan’s claims that its Hatf IX Nasr low-yield battlefield nuclear missiles are operational, unless China has provided Pakistan with the relevant warheads.

This esoteric issue gains significance because Pakistan has threatened to deploy its Hatf IX Nasr missiles along the India-Pakistan border to defeat India’s Cold Start strategy that envisages conventional forces being positioned along the border to attack, wrest and hold territory in Pakistan. Since the Hatf IX Nasr missile is much in the news its technical details will interest. It is said to have been indigenously developed by Pakistan and has a 60 km range. But it is carried by a Chinese-origin mobile transporter erector launcher that can carry four missiles, which must cast some doubt on the missile’s indigenous content. Reportedly, they have high lethality and accuracy because of their in-flight maneuver capability, which also permits them to evade missile defense systems. They can also rapidly shift their position after firing to avoid counter-attack, viz ‘shoot and scoot’. Finally, they can have conventional or nuclear warheads.Pakistan has developed the Hatf IX Nasr as a low-yield battlefield nuclear weapon to attack advancing mechanized or armored forces to counter India's Cold Start strategy. Arguably, it is intended to support Pakistan’s promotion of cross-border terrorism and militancy under the aegis of nuclear deterrence, while inhibiting India from retaliating against a Mumbai-style assault

Pakistan has declared that any attack by India across the India-Pakistan border would result in a nuclear riposte. Thereby, Pakistan is conveying that, being the weaker power, it would meet the challenge of superior Indian conventional forces with nuclear weapons, using theHatf IX Nasr in a battlefield mode. Of course, it could also utilize longer-range nuclear missiles. In truth, the distinction drawn between tactical and strategic missiles is quite artificial and meaningless in the South Asian context, given the proximity of ‘lucrative’ targets in either country to trans-border attack. 

‘The Great Akbar’ of Independence struggle

Published: November 8, 2013
Mushirul Hasan

Azad’s greatest gift was to postulate an equation between Islam and Indian nationalism on the one hand, and between Islam and the universal principles, on the other

Height about 5’ 5’’; exceptionally thin; noticeably fair; age about 33 years; has practically no hair on his face though he does not shave; long sharp face with prominent nose. This is the “official” description of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the golden boy of the Independence struggle. With his confidence, charm and sincerity, Azad impressed people of his age group with his sharp and swift mind. Later in years, he especially cultivated a look of venerable age to give a suitable background to his learning. His genius and method were too individual to found a school, but his writings and lectures exerted a profound influence owing to the breadth of view and patient learning. Rajaji described him as ‘The Great Akbar of Today’.

Unease with conformity

The study of Azad’s early life is, however, hampered by a deficiency of data. But there is ample evidence to indicate his discomfort with the traditional order of things. This was enough to rouse his scorn. So is his unease with taqlid or conformity. Is Islamic doctrine so rigid and dogmatic that it leaves no room for intellectual creativity? With this bent of mind, he broke off the shackles of fossilised theology, and critiqued all those elements in theology that inhibited the progress of empirical science and the unlimited process of their utilisation. His views on the spread of a materialistic way of life and the stagnation and retardation of religious life became well-known, but this phase in his life — when he “saw in religion only ignorance” — proved to be momentary. Once he regained his faith, he worked out a synthesis between the reformist and orthodox philosophies. He did not go too far in this journey, but went far enough to disturb the status quo.

The awakening at Aligarh’s M.A.O. College fostered ideas on reforms, interpretation, and innovation among the Muslim intelligentsia. Syed Ahmad Khan moulded young Azad’s thinking. He did his very best to read his writings and admired them. He also admired Shibli Nomani, founder of the Nadwat al-ulama in Lucknow. And when the Nadwa alim turned pan-Islamist after the European intervention in the Balkan States, Azad too stressed that the bonding with the Turks was unique insofar as they were a part of the Islamic community as well as its last political centre.

One has only to cast a glance at some of Azad’s early writings to realise that he entered the valley of doubts and uncertainties to demolish the suppositions that had guided theologians. He opposed the ‘scripturalists’ or the ‘literalists,’ because they advocated rigid adherence to the fundamentals of Islam, as literally interpreted from the Koran and the Sunna. His interest in the externals of religion, too, diminished. At the same time, he was consistent in his authentic inward piety. Just as he was ready to comprehend the whole Koran within the verses of the first Surah, so he conceived and pursued the politics of Islam within the Koran’s dimension of piety.

Pakistan built nuclear weapons for Saudi Arabia: report

The Washington Times
Thursday, November 7, 2013

A report based on information from NATO says Saudi Arabia has been paying Pakistan to build nuclear weapons and is now ready to take delivery.

Ynet News said that Saudi Arabia has been investing large amounts of money in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons development program for some time. And a reporter in Newsnight said that he recently was told by a leading NATO figure who claimed to have seen intelligence reports that the kingdom was now waiting on delivery.

Ynet News said Saudi officials may have the ability to deploy nuclear weapons faster than Iran could.

Apparently, Saudi Arabia has kept the United States informed of its intent to purchase Pakistani weapons since at least 2009, Ynet News said. That’s when King Abdullah told Dennis Ross, a U.S. special envoy, that if Iran developed the weapons, “we will get nuclear weapons,” too, Ynet News reported.

And as Newsnight reported, Israeli officials have been in the loop as well.

Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate head Amos Yadlin said at a previous conference, reported by Newsnight, that if Iran obtained the weapons capability, “the Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring.”

Meanwhile, Newsnight reported that President Obama’s former adviser Gary Samore as saying, “I do think that the Saudis believe that they have some understanding with Pakistan that, in extremis, they would have claim to acquire nuclear weapons from Pakistan.”

Military Decision-Making in Pakistan

Source Link

ISSSP Reflections No. 6, November 5, 2013
Author: Ms. Ramya PS

With the first successful democratic transition, Pakistan seems to be moving towards a situation where democracy could find stronger roots. However, this does not diminish the significance of the Pakistani Army and the ISI in the country’s decision making apparatus. Decision making in Pakistan is alluding and fragmented. Each regime either military or civilian has had varying approaches. In the following paragraphs, an attempt is made to analyse the decision making during the Pervez Musharraf regime using the 1999 Kargil Conflict and the subsequent coup deposing the Nawaz Sharif government.

Rational Actor Model

The theory proposed by Allison and Zelikow in their book Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis revolves around three models. Primarily, the Rational Actor model has its basis in realist school of thought. It explains decision making using the concepts of rationality, interest, choice and consequence. This model perceives the government/nation as a unitary actor. The model stipulates the goal as maximisation of national interest and security of the state. The decision to achieve that goal can be broken down into actions, alternatives and consequences. The definition of rationality specified within this model is debated in two ways- comprehensive and bounded. The use of either or both throws light on the ultimate decision. The understanding culled out of the first model can be depicted as a ‘cycle of rationality’ represented diagrammatically below.

Cycle of Rationality - Model I – Rational Actor Model 

Organisational Behaviour

Model II is centered on the organisational behaviour. It analyses decision making from the organisational prism wherein the state or government is an organisation which follows specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) which shape policies. Organisational cultures and routines contribute towards unified action and maximise capabilities linking Model I and II. When viewed from model II, decision-making involves the state machinery working as an organisation to avoid uncertainties following ‘rational’ consistency.

Governmental Politics

Model III focuses on ‘personalised’ power and is called Governmental Politics. The actor in this model is an individual focusing on decision making from the position of power (leadership, authority in apex organisation). ‘Where you stand depends where you sit’ forms the crux of model III. Thus, all three models operate simultaneously as seen in the following case studies.

A militant group in crisis

By Daud Khattak 
November 6, 2013

The recent killing of Hakimullah Mehsud, the notorious leader of the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), in a U.S. drone strike has not only put the newly-elected Pakistani government in a difficult position, it has also presented the militant group with a serious leadership crisis that may culminate in wider rifts, fragmentation, and even armed confrontations if it persists for a long time.

Looking at the reign of terror let loose by the ruthless TTP fighters under Mehsud's command, both in Pakistan's tribal areas and the country's cities, there is every reason to celebrate his death. However, the reaction from the Pakistani ruling and opposition political parties have converted him from a dreaded villain, whose daring attacks on Pakistani civilians and government installations forced state authorities to place a 50m-rupee ($470,000) bounty on his head, to a hero.

Political fallout

In an emotional press conference on November 2, Pakistan's Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, announced that "this is not just the killing of one person, it is the death of all peace efforts." While this may seem like hyperbole to some, Khan has to avert the wrath of the Taliban, as well as snatch the opportunity away from his government's key rival, Imran Khan, the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party, who has threatened to block the NATO supply route through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where his party controls the government.

Since the May 2013 election, the PTI has emerged as the third biggest party in Pakistan's parliament and Khan himself is a staunch opponent of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the covert CIA drone program that targets wanted al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders. Although public opinion over Mehsud's death is widely divided, Sharif has had to condemn the U.S. strike, even though it killed a wanted terrorist, lest his opponents -- like Khan and Monawar Hassan, leader of the anti-U.S. Jamiat-e-Islami party -- accuse him of being complicit.

In September, under pressure from the opposition, the government convened an All Parties Conference and continued appealing to the Taliban to begin peace talks, despite the latter's ruthless attacks on civilians and military personnel, which include the killing of a two-star general and a double suicide attack on a church in Peshawar.

The second, and somewhat more important, factor behind the Pakistani government's angry reaction to Mehsud's death is the fear of revenge attacks by the TTP. Silence, let alone a hint of satisfaction on part of the government, could provide enough ground for Taliban suicide bombers and target killers to chase government ministers, just as they did with the Awami National Party and Pakistan People's Party during this year's election campaign. (The two parties had ordered military operations against the TTP in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and South Waziristan in 2009.)

In discussing the Pakistani reactions to the killings of Osama bin Laden in 2011 and Mehsud last week, local columnist and commentator Ayaz Amir said: "When Osama bin Ladin [sic] was killed the army went into mourning, citing breach of national sovereignty. Hakeemullah [sic] Mehsud's killing has plunged much of the political class into mourning." As there has been no serious reaction to the November 1 drone strike from Pakistan's military, the silence is being seen as consent on the part of Pakistan's security establishment.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

Apart from the unnecessary hysteria about the release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and an end to U.S. drone strikes, which was mostly for public consumption, Sharif's October visit to Washington was quite successful, particularly on the economic and social fronts, military-to-military relations, and Pakistani concerns about the post-2014 Afghanistan. But the November 1 drone strike and the political considerations Sharif faces at home present the Pakistani government with a dilemma.

Being a close U.S. and NATO ally, Sharif can't raise the issue of the killing of a declared terrorist via diplomatic channels. But Pakistan can't welcome Mehsud's death either, lest that invite the wrath of the TTP and provide an excuse for opposition groups to take to the streets. However, those in Sharif's close circles believe that, despite the rhetoric of his interior minister and angry speeches in the Pakistani parliament, the prime minister is still supportive of close ties with the United States.

New information about possible U.S. abuses in Afghanistan

By Emily Schneider
November 7, 2013 

More accusations

Human Rights Watch released a statement on Wednesday that called upon the U.S. government to undertake a "thorough and impartial investigation" into new allegations regarding the role of U.S. soldiers in the killing of 18 men in Afghanistan in late 2012 and early 2013 (HRW). The statement was prompted by a Rolling Stonearticle published earlier in the day that contained new information about the role of U.S. Special Forces unit ODA 3124 in the deaths (Rolling Stone). According to the article, residents in Afghanistan's Nerkh province became suspicious of U.S. abuses in November 2012 when they alleged that 10 civilians had been arrested and then disappeared. In February 2013, the body of a man who had been arrested by U.S. forces was found with its throat slit. ODA 3124 withdrew from Nerkh in April, following local protests and pressure from Afghan President Hamid Karzai about their presence there. Soon after, a local shepherd found human remains near the unit's former base. In the next two months, human remains were found in five other locations around the base - amounting to 18 individuals in total.

The U.S. military has repeatedly denied any involvement in the crimes. Col. Jane Crichton, the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force spokeswoman, told the Wall Street Journal in July that there was no credible evidence to substantiate misconduct by coalition or U.S. forces after a thorough investigation (WSJ). Human Rights Watch argued that the incidents, which could amount to the greatest war crimes by U.S. forces since 2001, should be investigated in light of the new information so that U.S. authorities can establish exactly what happened and who is responsible.

That's commitment

Just about a week after saying that Australia's combat mission in Afghanistan would end before Christmas, the country's officials have offered to keep up to 400 troops in Afghanistan after NATO forces withdraw at the end of next year (RFE/RL). Jon Philip, the Australian ambassador to Afghanistan, said Australia is willing to keep between 100 and 400 troops in Afghanistan "into 2015 and onwards," but that it is at the discretion of Afghan officials. Australia currently has around 1,200 soldiers in Afghanistan, most of which are based in Uruzgan province. 

As the November 11 registration deadline for the April 2014 elections approaches, less than a quarter of Afghanistan's eligible voters have signed up to vote (AJE). Approximately 12 million Afghans are eligible to vote, but barely 2.7 million have registered, according to the country's Independent Election Commission (IEC) officials. They added that almost one million of those registered so far are women. The IEC has deployed mobile registration units across the country in hopes of reaching more of the eligible voters, but violence in southern and eastern regions has kept the turnout low (Pajhwok).

Drone shooting?

Pakistani lawmakers urged the federal government on Wednesday to shoot down U.S. drones if the aircrafts continue to violate Pakistan's sovereignty (ET, Pajhwok). On the floor of the National Assembly, Dr. Shireen Mazari of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party said the targeting should be used as a last resort to "convey a louder message to the United States that drones are counterproductive and not acceptable to us." While other lawmakers endorsed her view, most agreed that the Pakistani government should avoid direct confrontation with the United States and pursue the proposed peace plan with the Taliban instead.

Pakistani police detained at least 98 suspects, five of them Afghan nationals, on Wednesday during raids on houses and businesses throughout Peshawar (Dawn). The operation was a joint effort between the police, army, and Frontier Corps to find suspected terrorists operating in the region. Peshawar is situated on the edge of Pakistan's tribal areas, which the United States has labeled a hot bed for al-Qaeda and Taliban activity. The city has been victim to many militant attacks in recent years, and this sting operation was an effort to maintain the peace. 

It was revealed on Thursday that at least 1,500 people have been arrested in Karachi as the first phase of a similar security operation comes to a close (ET). Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told the Pakistani Senate that the security operation, which began on September 7, was over and that preparation for the next phase was beginning. One high profile case from the operation was the arrest of NAME?, the leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a liberal political party in Pakistan, which caused some to criticize the operation as being politically motivated (ET). 

The band plays on

In the Pakistani megacity of Karachi, Shakeel "Cassette Wallah" is a security guard by day, and a passionate dhol drummer by night. Like many artists, Shakeel has held a number of menial jobs over the years as dhol playing is not a lucrative business, but according to him, he's "addicted to playing the dhol [traditional drums]. Nothing else can quench my thirst" (ET). While dhol players used to be regularly booked for weddings, birthdays, and other celebratory functions, they are now competing with DJs and electronic sound systems. But despite the fact that they can go days or weeks without a paying gig, Shakeel and others like him regularly check their local dhol offices to see if there is a chance for them to play, determined to bring the traditional art form back to its "glory days."

-- Emily Schneider

Pakistan’s telling reflexes

Published: November 7, 2013

The killing of Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone attack has set off depressingly familiar reactions that are telling about the state of play within Pakistan, and its relations with the United States. In a replay of what followed Osama bin Laden’s killing in 2011, the killing of Mehsud has set off more condemnation of the American violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity than an honest assessment of who he was and how he had brought the country to its knees. As the leader of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Mehsud was the mastermind of scores of terrorist attacks that killed innocent Pakistanis by the hundreds in mosques, markets, hospitals; the TTP took on the Pakistan Army, ambushing, kidnapping and beheading soldiers, acts for which it readily took responsibility, so much so that in popular Pakistani narrative, it was even suspected of being a proxy group of India. It was behind the attempted killing of the teenager Malala Yusufzai for standing up for girls’ education. It killed anti-polio workers suspecting them to be American spies and holding the immunisation programme as a conspiracy against Islam. The TTP also played a dark role in the elections earlier this year with a bloody campaign targeting candidates of the “secular” Pakistan People’s Party and Awami National Party. Mehsud formed alliances with other militant groups across Pakistan, building a country-wide terror network. Yet, he is being hailed by a broad spectrum of Pakistani politicians as a Taliban leader who wanted to make peace with the government. Some have even described him as a martyr.

After a surge in terror attacks, the government — armed with a mandate from an all parties’ conference — had been trying to start a dialogue with the TTP, and views the killing as a setback to this process. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said the efforts would continue, and a senior cabinet minister has demanded a review of ties with the U.S. Considering the Taliban have only contempt for Pakistan’s Constitution and other aspects of the modern democratic nation state, the question has always been if this is a peace process or a surrender by the government. It is true that the war by drones has repeatedly violated Pakistan’s sovereignty. Even if the Pakistani military and civilian leadership are not complicit in it as the U.S. has repeatedly claimed, it is hard not to concede that Mehsud’s elimination must have unnerved the TTP, at least for now, and given the Sharif government an invaluable opportunity to forge a new, more visionary political consensus on how to deal with the terrorism, extremism and militancy eating at the country’s vitals. Unfortunately, all signs are that Pakistan will choose not to take it.

China’s Xinjiang problem

November 5th, 2013
By Elizabeth Economy, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Elizabeth Economy is C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and director of Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. The views expressed are her own.

In the aftermath of an apparent suicide attack in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on October 27 that injured dozens of people and killed five (including three involved in the attack), Chinese authorities moved quickly to label the incident terrorism and to arrest a handful of suspects who reportedly helped plot the attack. In the process, word leaked out that those involved were from Xinjiang, a Muslim-dominated region in the far northwest of China. For decades, Xinjiang, itself, has been the site of often-violent ethnic strife between the Muslim Uyghur majority and the Han Chinese minority. Uyghur discontent, however, has rarely spilled over into other parts of China. Now, Chinese authorities are claiming that Uyghur extremists have, for the first time, taken their cause to Beijing.

Assuming this suicide attack was, in fact, a premeditated terrorist attack and not simply an act of individual desperation – an assumption many in and outside China continue to question – the government’s next step will likely be to crack down in Xinjiang itself. Past violence in Xinjiang has been met by Beijing with highly repressive policies, mass arrests, and demonstrations of military and police force. In fact, the Tiananmen incident occurred while Beijing was already in the midst of a government-directed crackdown on online activists in Xinjiang. Even more moderate approaches have fallen flat. In May, for example, residents of one county in Xinjiang were the beneficiaries of more than 100 government-sponsored lectures on ethnic relations during “ethnic harmony education month.” The following month, 35 people died in ethnic violence in that same county.

Beijing’s policies do little to address the real sources of its Xinjiang problem, which are economic, political, and cultural. Xinjiang’s per capita GDP is approximately one-third that of chart-topping Tianjin. Moreover, within that, Han Chinese benefit disproportionately. Chinese scholars Shan Wei and Chen Gang note that as the Han have migrated in, they have brought industries that undercut traditional Uyghur handicrafts industries and commerce. In addition, they suggest that Uyghurs are largely excluded from the personal networks the Han Chinese use to develop business.

Crying Lone Wolf


After explosions in a provincial capital, Chinese debate whether anti-government violence is acceptable.

On the morning of Nov. 6, an unknown assailant or group of assailants reportedly detonated several bombs outside the provincial government headquarters of Taiyuan, the capital of northern China's Shanxi province. China's state-run Xinhua news agency stated that the bombs appear "home-made," with ball bearings and even a circuit board discovered among the detritus, while photographs circulating on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter, depict cars and tires riddled with shrapnel. The attack, which reportedly killed one and injured eight, comes at a sensitive time: barely a week after a deadly car crash near Tiananmen Square that Beijing called an act of terrorism, and just two days before Chinese senior leaders discuss the nation's future at a meeting called the third Plenum.

Online responses to the attack highlight the important debate occurring in China between those who sympathize with anti-government violence and those who don't. The attack is big news there: The top three searches on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter, all relate to the explosion, and an announcement about the explosion from the local police's official Weibo account is the #2 trending post, with over 8,000 related comments. Among the hundreds of comments sampled, a surprisingly large portion expressed sympathy for the perpetrator (or perpetrators). One Weibo user wrote that under enough government pressure "common people ... are all possible terrorists." Another wrote that "people explode" when the pressure is high enough.

Many users went even further, directly cheering or encouraging the violence. Examples of angry, even violent rhetoric abound: One user asked whether "any of those dog-fuckers inside" the government building had been killed. Another wrote, "No matter how bad it is, you should not hurt innocent people; you should blow up a few corrupt officials!" One reasoned, "Anyone who harms the masses is a terrorist! But harming an official is vengeance." 

Most commenters did not discuss what particular complaint may have given rise to the bombing. Some speculated the attack had to do with Taiyuan mayor Geng Yanbo, who has made some enemies since taking office in February. Geng earned the nickname "Geng Chaichai" (roughly, "Geng Smash-smash") while mayor of Datong, a smaller city in the same province, for his controversial propensity to displace ordinary citizens in favor of ambitious construction projects. After the bombing, one Weibo user joked, "Geng Chaichai, come back to Datong; the big city is too dangerous."

Other users pushed back against the tide of encouragement. Many wrote that it was wrong to harm "innocent people" (although even statements of sympathy often appeared to exclude government officials.) Some confronted cheering netizens more directly. "I don't know what is wrong with people who are praising this," one userwrote. In a widely-shared comment, one user described a lunch-room argument with a colleague hours after the bombing. The colleague was a fenqing, or angry youth, who seemed "extremely sympathetic" to the Taiyuan killer, who the youth thought might be someone oppressed by the government. "I walked over to him," the user wrote, "and dumped my lunch on his head." 

Egypt’s Transition Roadmap: Main Event or Sideshow?

NOVEMBER 05, 2013

Photo: US Department of State

Secretary of State John Kerry called on the military-backed interim government to “keep faith with the roadmap and the path ahead to continue the march to democracy” during his November 3 stop in Cairo, one of several references he made to the roadmap as the key indicator of how things are going in Egypt. Kerry can be forgiven for trying to find a concrete yardstick to cling to in evaluating what is likely to happen next in Egypt and on what basis the United States can decide whether to restore the assistance that was reduced recently. But he chose the wrong one. 

Admittedly, this is complicated. As soon as a military leader takes control from an elected leader, as happened July 3 in Egypt, the world wants to know when there will be new elections to put civilians back in charge. And indeed, the civilian president appointed by Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi put into place aroadmap that features a rewriting of the constitution (currently underway), to be followed by a popular referendum on the document and then later by parliamentary and president elections. It is a better sequence than Egypt tried during its first post-Mubarak transition (parliamentary and president elections first, and only after that a new constitution), and in theory preferable to military leaders governing the country directly.

But there are two very large elephants in the room one has to ignore to use implementation of the roadmap as the primary gauge of Egypt’s progress toward democracy. First, there is the massive crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood movement associated with deposed President Mohamed Morsi: more than 1,600 killed, 8,000 wounded, and 5,000-10,000 imprisoned since June 30; the Brotherhood dissolved as a legal entity and its assets confiscated; and more than 100 Islamist leaders likely to be tried for various offenses including espionage, treason, and inciting violence. In fact, the trial of Morsi began the day after Kerry’s visit, an uncomfortable fact that the Secretary astonishingly failed to bring up in public remarks during his time in Cairo. Nor did he mention the increasing pressure on liberals, human rights activists, and even comedians who have dared to question the wisdom of—or just joke about--military rule. 

Elephant number two in the room is the likelihood that, even if the roadmap is implemented to the letter, it might well result in a weak façade of civilian government masking military/security rule. Although the draft has not yet been released, according to media reports the new constitution retains for the military broad authority to try civilians in military courts, as well as freedom from parliamentary oversight of its budget. Moreover, it apparently will remove even presidential authority over the military, as the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will have a veto over the choice of defense minister. While some Egyptians are still trying to resist the military trials provision, in this moment of faith in al-Sisi, no-one seems to be focusing on what the other provisions will mean if passed: a military that exists apart from and above the rest of the government, not accountable to elected civilians.